Yes, that is my album artwork for Will Stratton’s Post-Empire, listed this week as one of Spinner’s 50 best albums of 2012 and nestled there amongst The Walkmen and Grizzly Bear and Jack White. And Jimmy Dean sausages.
Look, see for yourself.
Imagine the scene: a close up of clothes – striped towels and sheets, perhaps – tumbling slowly, rhythmically, in an industrial sized dryer. The camera pans wider to reveal stacks of dryers, some tumbling their contents, others like black portals into empty nothingness. A harsh, bright florescent light burns and flickers overhead. There is music, too – some awful cover of Lee Greenwood’s ‘Proud to be an American’ – coming from a TV that is bolted to the ceiling. Dancing With The Stars is on, and some former football player is doing a mambo. People sit below looking up at the TV from a bank of orange plastic chairs, their eyes wide and mouths agape at the spectacle. Someone walks out the front door and it is raining out. It’s the kind of rain that’s more like a mist than anything else – the kind that you can feel but not really see unless you look up at a streetlight from a certain angle. It’s coming in sideways.
Across the parking lot is a boy, sitting in the back of a Jeep. The tailgate is up, and he’s hunched over a book. He only has a few pages to go until the end, and with at least 29 minutes still left on the dryer, he should finish it but won’t. Some other time, he thinks, and closes the book. He has an unsettled, distracted look about him – like he is waiting for someone or something to happen without knowing who it may be or what it is he really wants to come to pass. He picks up his pipe and considers lighting it. Then he wonders if he doesn’t look like a fool, sitting in the back of his car, smoking a pipe in the Metro Laundromat parking lot. So he fiddles with his phone for a while and plays “za” on Words With Friends. It’s a double letter score for 22 points, and he knows it’s a shit move and a shit word, but he needs the easy points. He also needs to know what song is on the radio – it’s a late 20′s dixieland stomper by Richard “My Knee” Jones or King Oliver, and definitely has the old New Orleans sound with which he’s familiar. He’s a long way from that place, and may soon be going farther still. Perhaps that’s what preoccupies him. Perhaps not.
But the boy likes being here. Surely, its kind of a shithole and sitting out in the car like this leaves a few things to be desired. It’s good thinking time, though. So he thinks. And like any boy, he can’t think about much before he begins thinking about girls. He remembers the one he misses, he feels sorry about the one he’s hurt, and he longs for the one he’s not yet met. There is no conclusion to these thoughts, no easy resolution, so he chases them away by heading back inside. Maybe by now those 29 minutes have passed and it’s time to change the laundry. If not, he’ll wait and stand and stare into one of those dark portals as everything continues to spin around him.